November 23, 2017

On Leading Role of Working Class in the National Liberation Movement of the Colonial Peoples

V. M. Maslennikov
* Revised stenogram of a report delivered on June 8, 1949 at a joint meeting of the Scholars’ Council of the Institution of Economics and the Pacific Institute of the Academic of Sciences, USSR, devoted to the problems of the national-colonial movement after the Second World War.

Lenin and Stalin elaborated a complete teaching on the Socialist and the national and colonial revolutions. One of its cornerstones is the teaching on the leading role of the proletariat in these revolutions.

Lenin wrote:
“Only the proletariat can be a consistent fighter for democracy. It may become a victorious fighter for democracy only if the peasant masses join its revolutionary struggle.” (Lenin, Selected Works, Eng. Ed., Moscow, 1947, Vol. I, p. 376)
The Great October Socialist Revolution was victorious because at its head stood the revolutionary working class of Russia with its vanguard, the Bolshevik Party, tempered in political battles. It was victorious because the working class of Russia possessed such as important ally in the revolution as the poor peasantry, comprising the vast majority of the peasant population in the country, The experience of the revolutionary struggle in Russia was and still is of tremendous significance for the national liberation movement of the peoples of the colonies, the semi-colonies and the dependent countries.

The successes of the national liberation movement in the postwar period and above all the historic victory of the Chinese people, who have smashed the Kuomintang clique and created the People’s Republic of China, are the most striking demonstrations of the triumph of the Leninist-Stalinist teachings on the national-colonial revolution and on the leading role of the proletariat in this revolution.

Comrade Stalin has pointed out that after the Great October Revolution the era of undisturbed exploitation and oppression of the colonies and dependent countries has passed away and the era of revolutions for emancipation in the colonies and dependent countries, the era of the awakening of the proletariat in these countries, the era of its hegemony in the revolution has begun.
“The October Revolution has ushered in a new era, the era of colonial revolutions which are being conducted in the oppressed countries of the world in alliance with the proletariat and under the leadership of the proletariat.” (Stalin, Problems of Leninism, Moscow, 1947, p. 201)

The Great October Socialist Revolution has broken the chains of national and colonial oppression in Tsarist Russia and freed from it, without exception, all the oppressed nations of our State.
“It is precisely because the national-colonial revolutions took place in our country under the leadership of the proletariat and under the banner of internationalism that pariah nations, slave nations, have for the first time in the history of mankind risen to the position of nations which are really free and really equal, thereby setting a contagious example for the oppressed nations of the whole world” (Stalin, Problems of Leninism, Moscow, 1947, pp 200-201)

The oppressed peoples of the colonial and semi-colonial countries found in the Soviet Union a support, a loyal friend in the struggle against imperialism.

After the Great October Socialist Revolution the national liberation movement of the oppressed peoples grew more and more intense, constantly undermining the rear of imperialism. In giving his classical definition of the general crisis of capitalism, Comrade Stalin pointed out as one of its basic symptoms the fact 
“that the imperialist war and the victory of the revolution in the USSR had undermined the basis of imperialism in colonial and dependent countries, that the authority of imperialism in these countries was already shattered and that it was not able to rule as of old through force in these countries”. (Lenin and Stalin, Collection of Writings for the Study of the History of the CPSU (B), Russ Ed., Party Publishing Press, 1936, Vol. III. p. 428)
The struggle of the peoples of the colonial and dependent countries of East and South-East Asia, of the Middle East and Africa for freedom and independence and against the imperialist oppressors is characterised by a diversity of forms and of sweep in various countries. This difference is determined by the correlation of class forces in these countries, by the extent of their industrial development, by the level of the revolutionary consciousness and organisation of the proletariat, the successes of its struggle for hegemony in the national liberation movement, for allies, and, in the first instance, for the peasantry which comprises the majority of the population of the colonies and semi-colonies. 

China occupied the leading position in the revolutionary movement of the oppressed peoples in the period between the First and Second World Wars.

Comrade Stalin paid great attention to the problems of the Chinese revolution. He pointed out that the characteristic features of the Chinese revolution is the struggle between two paths – the path of the national bourgeoisie which wants to crush the proletariat, enter into a compact with imperialism and, with it, launch a campaign against the revolution in order to suppress it and establish the rule of capitalism, and the other path – the path of the proletariat which pursues the aim of pushing aside the national bourgeoisie and consolidating its hegemony and winning the following of the toiling millions in the town and countryside in order to overcome the resistance of the national bourgeoisie, secure the complete victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution and then gradually switch it to the path of Socialist revolution. (As quoted by E. Zhukov, “The Great October Socialist Revolution and China”, New Times, No. 46, November 7, 1949)

The accomplishment of the tasks through the conquest and the consolidation of the hegemony of the proletariat, through the carrying out of the democratic revolution and through the creation of conditions for Socialist construction necessitates a prolonged and stubborn struggle.

In this struggle the Communist Party of China based itself on the great teachings of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin, on the great historical experience of the CPSU (B). In his article, On the Dictatorship of People’s Democracy, written on July 1, 1949, the occasion of the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Mao Tse-tung wrote:
“We had to fight internal enemies and enemies from without, enemies inside the Party and outside its ranks. We are indebted to Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin for giving us a weapon to fight with. This weapon is not the machinegun but Marxism-Leninism.... The Chinese acquired Marxism as a result of its application by the Russians. Before the October Revolution the Chinese did not know who Lenin and Stalin were; neither did they know of Marx and Engels. The salvoes of the October Revolution brought us Marxism-Leninism. The October Revolution helped the progressive elements of the world and of China as well to apply the proletarian world outlook in determining the fate of the country and in reviewing their own problem. The conclusion reached was that we must advance along the path taken by the Russians.” (Mao Tse-tung, “Dictatorship of People’s Democracy”, For A Lasting Peace, For A People’s Democracy, July 15, 1949)
The feudal-militarist groups were the main support of foreign imperialism in China. The foreign imperialists waged a struggle for the extension of their spheres of influence in China by utilising one or another set of militarist cliques. Feudal survivals were predominant inside the country and they were aggravated by the oppression of militarism and arbitrary rule of the bureaucracy. In order to gratify foreign capital the reactionary Government stifled national industry. The Chinese industrial bourgeoisie which had multiplied its capital considerably and increased its production in the years of the First World War found itself in opposition to the foreign imperialists, who at that time preferred to utilise the compradore trading bourgeoisie for its operations. Under these circumstances, the national bourgeoisie stood in the ranks of the united front for a struggle for its own interests against imperialism and the feudal-militarist cliques.

In China the revolutionary fight of the workers and peasants against the feudal-bureaucratic oppression, against militarism and imperialism began immediately after the October Revolution in Russia and after the termination of the First World War. In 1921, the Communist Party was formed in China and already in the following year it led the strike struggle of the workers. This struggle was of tremendous political importance. The hegemony of the proletariat in the Chinese revolution would have been impossible if the Communist Party of China had not from the very beginning of its activities created powerful mass proletarian organisations, if these organisations, and above all the trade unions, had not been under the leadership of the Communist Party and if the Communist Party had not succeeded in leading the working class movement and leading it along the revolutionary path, the path of uniting it with Socialism. In June 1923, at the Third Congress of the Communist Party the decision to join the Kuomintang was taken. By this time the Communist Party already had the solid experience of revolutionary leadership of the working class movement. After the Kuomintang Congress had adopted in 1924 the resolution proposed by Sun Yat-sen to accept peasants and workers as members of the Kuomintang a base was created in China for the formation of a united front against foreign imperialism and the reactionary militarists.

Comrade Stalin points out that a united front with the national bourgeoisie in the first stage of the colonial revolution does not at all mean that the Communists must not intensify the struggle of the workers and peasants against the landlords and the national bourgeoisie, that the proletariat must sacrifice its independence in the slightest degree or for a single moment.
“A united front can have revolutionary significance only if and when it does not hinder the Communist Party from conducting its independent political and organisational work, only if it does not prevent it from organising the proletariat into an independent political force, rousing the peasantry against the landlords, openly organising a revolution of workers and peasants and thus preparing the conditions necessary for the hegemony of the proletariat.” (Stalin, Marxism and the National and Colonial Question, London, Lawrence and Wishart. p 237)
The Chinese, proletariat by consolidating its ranks and by being tempered in the strike struggle against foreign capital at the same time fought to extend its influence among the broad working masses. The Party of the proletariat, its foremost and organised detachment, grew and strengthened. While in 1925 the Communist Party of China had only two thousand members, in 1927 the membership of the Communist Party had already risen to sixty thousand. In these years the Communist Party led the biggest strike battles and it succeeded in increasing considerably the membership of the trade unions. While at the First Congress of the Trade Unions of China which was called in 1925 on the initiative of the Communist Party, representatives of 230,000 organised workers were present, in 1927 the number of workers organised in trade unions were already three million. The revolutionary movement embraced tens of millions of toiling peasants of China. Finally the Communist Party succeeded in drawing to its side whole regiments and divisions of the nationalist troops.
“....the Chinese Communist Party has succeeded during this period in converting the idea of the hegemony of the proletariat from a wish into a fact,” wrote Stalin. (Stalin, Ibid., p. 252)
The successes attained by the Communist Party in the struggle for the hegemony of the proletariat in the national liberation movement was to a considerable extent facilitated by the fact that in China the bourgeoisie was weak and unorganised. The big national bourgeoisie, apprehending the sweep of the revolutionary movement of the working people crossed over to the camp of counter-revolution. Relying on the support of the foreign imperialists the bourgeoisie attempted to halt the revolution at the “first step” in order to stifle it later. However, the bourgeois nationalists who had usurped State power in China with the help of foreign imperialists did not succeed in halting the Chinese revolution.
“While the first stage was distinguished by the fact that the edge of revolution was directed mainly against foreign imperialism, the distinguishing feature of the second stage is that the edge of revolution is now directed mainly against the internal enemies and primarily against the feudal lords and the feudal regime.” (Stalin Ibid., p. 244)
The exposure of the big compradore national bourgeoisie as an agent of British and American imperialism and a relentless struggle against it were the most important tasks of the working class of China during the second stage of the revolution. The Chinese revolution now entered into a higher phase of its development – the phase of the agrarian revolution. The agrarian revolution assumed broad dimensions and seriously frightened even the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia which in the person of the Wuhan leadership of the Kuomintang also went over to the camp of counter-revolution. This meant that the revolution suffered a temporary defeat. 
“But,” as Comrade Stalin pointed out, “it rallied the broad masses of the peasantry and the urban poor more closely around the proletariat, preparing soil for the proletarian hegemony.” (Stalin, Collected Works, Russ. Ed. Vol. X, p. 25).
Basing on the peasant partisan movement led by the Communist Party of China the thousand-strong Red Army was created and the first seats of democratic power arose in the country. In November 1931, at the First All-China Congress of Soviets representing sixty million members, the new democratic power in China – Soviet Power – was created. The new organs of revolutionary power were organs of uprising against the existing Kuomintang power, organs of struggle for a new democratic power. At the same time they were organs for the carrying out in China of the agrarian bourgeois-democratic revolution, which was far from being completed. The new democratic power was a powerful revolutionary centre attracting all the progressive elements inside the country in their struggle against the counter-revolutionary Kuomintang. After the Japanese invasion of China, with the aim of creating and strengthening the united national front, the Chinese Red Army was reorganised into a People’s Liberation Army and became the principal force in the struggle against the Japanese usurpers.

The democratic power, created in the regions liberated from the Japanese invaders by the People’s Liberation Army and the partisan detachments of China during the Sino-Japanese war (1937-45) was an all-people’s power. It enjoyed the confidence and the support of not only the population of the democratic regions but of the whole of China. The industrial enterprises in the liberated regions passed into the ownership of the entire people, the peasants received land; the power of the capitalists, the landlords and foreign capital was liquidated, the bloc of toiling strata of the population headed by the working class under the leadership of the Communist Party, became the principal leading force. For the first time, the Chinese people had the possibility of being convinced through their own experience of what a genuinely People’s Democratic power means.

At the end of the Second World War the influence of the Communist Party of China as a leading force had spread to eighteen liberated areas with a population of 140 million people. The Communist Party won tremendous authority and the respect of the majority of the population of the entire country. The hegemony of the entire working class of China, its leading influence on the peasantry was thus not only won but passed the test of historical experience.

In the course of the agrarian revolution that was unfolding under the leadership of the Communist Party over a considerable part of the territory of China the leading role of the proletariat in the national liberation struggle increased and its influence grew among the peasant masses. At this stage of the Chinese revolution the Communist Party won over in the struggle for democratisation of the country not only the proletariat and the peasantry but also democratic sections of the national bourgeoisie.

In the period between the First and Second World Wars China occupied the position of the vanguard in the revolutionary movement of the peoples of the colonies and semi-colonies. But in this period in the colonial front many other weak links in the imperialist chain had been formed creating a serious threat to imperialist rule. In this period the national liberation movement of the Indian people rose to great heights.

India occupies one of the first places among colonial countries in the numerical strength of its proletariat. While according to the figures of the Chinese census, the total number of factory workers in China in 1927, did not exceed one-and-a-half million, in India in that very same year the urban proletariat exceeded three-and-a-half million. In India as in China it was not only the factory proletariat which participated in the revolutionary national liberation struggle. Tens of millions of peasants, millions of artisans workers in small manufacturing enterprises, port workers, coolies, rickshaw drivers and other urban poor were active participants in the mass revolutionary struggle, whose leaders undoubtedly were the more organised and disciplined factory workers.

The Indian proletariat by the end of the nineteenth century, i.e., considerably earlier than the Chinese proletariat had already begun to participate actively in the strike struggle, which often passed over into political struggle. In 1905, the Indian textile workers conducted a strike directed against the attempts of capitalists to lengthen the working day. In 1906, a general political strike of the Bengal railway workers broke out. In May 1907 the railway workers of the Punjab refused to transport troops sent by the British imperialists to crush a peasant uprising. In 1908, Lenin wrote in connection with the general political strike of the Indian textile workers:
“In India the proletariat has already matured sufficiently to wage a class conscious and political mass struggle.” (Lenin. Selected Works, Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1936. Vol. IV, p. 300)
The working class movement in India assumed a broad sweep in 1918-22. Along with powerful strikes unprecedented till then in the history of India, there took place mass demonstrations and meetings of workers. After the bloody shootings of the workers’ demonstrations in Amritsar in 1919 the national liberation movement embraced the whole country. In the period of revolutionary advance of 1930-32 and also on the eve of the Second World War the Indian proletariat for the first time emerged as an independent political force. In India the peasant movement too assumed a broad sweep both in 1919-22 as well as in 1930-32 and in a number of places it passed over into armed uprisings, into burning of landlords’ estates, confiscation of landlords’ grain. The Indian people dealt forceful blows at the rear of the capitalist system and by shattering the positions of imperialism their fight helped the international proletariat.

Nevertheless in its scope and results the revolutionary movement in India greatly lagged behind the revolutionary movement in China. The struggle of the Indian working class for hegemony in the national liberation movement was not crowned with such successes as in China. The Indian working class in its struggle for hegemony in the revolutionary movement met such an exceedingly powerful opponent in• the person of British imperialism, who with all the means at its disposal crushed and disrupted the national liberation movement.

British imperialism employed ruthless and bloody terror and all kinds of repressive measures against the national liberation movement of the peoples of the colonies and semi-colonies, and at the same time it extensively utilised bourgeois national reformism. National reformism, whose leader in the colonies and semi-colonies is the national bourgeoisie, like all reformism rejects the revolutionary path of emancipating the country from imperialist oppression. The national reformists, while duping the workers, affirm that it is possible to achieve freedom and independence through the path of gradual attainment of reforms.

The Chinese Communist Party succeeded in the course of many years’ struggle in smashing national reformism and isolating its bearers, the national bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeoisie in the towns from the masses of the working-class and the peasantry. Mao Tse-tung wrote in the article quoted above:
“The national bourgeoisie cannot be the leader of the revolution nor for that matter can it occupy a leading position in the State for its social and economic position determines its weakness, its lack of foresight, courage and the fear of the masses displayed by many of its representatives. Sun Yat-sen called for ‘awakening the masses’ or for ‘rendering assistance to the peasants and workers’. Who intends to awaken them and help them? According to Sun Yat-sen it was to be the petty-bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie. But this cannot be realised in practice. Sun Yat-sen’s revolutionary work of 40 years ended in failure. Why? Because in the epoch of imperialism the petty-bourgeoisie cannot successfully lead any real revolution. Our experience of 28 years is quite different. We have acquired invaluable experience and the essence of this experience consists in the following three factors: a disciplined Party equipped with the theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin using the method of self-criticism and closely linked with the masses, an army led by this Party, a united front of different revolutionary sections of society and groups led by this Party.
“This makes us different from our predecessors. Basing ourselves on these three factors we won the main victory traversed a difficult Path and waged a struggle against the Right and Left opportunist tendencies in the Party.” (Mao Tse-tung, “Dictatorship of People’s Democracy”, from For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy, July 15, 1949)
In China national reformism never had such a strong influence as in India. The influence of the Chinese big bourgeoisie increased in the period of the Northern Expedition and of the collaboration between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China. But it swiftly lost this influence after it betrayed the national revolution and openly became a counter-revolutionary agent of the Anglo-American imperialists. At the same time considerable sections of the petty and middle bourgeoisie oppressed by foreign imperialism and big bureaucratic capital became more and more closely linked with the united revolutionary front led by the Communist Party of China.

National reformism began to consolidate and extend its influence in India after the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885. The Indian bourgeoisie, formed a bloc with the liberal section of the landlords and attempted by gradual reforms within the framework of the regime of colonial oppression to consolidate its economic positions and persuade the masses about ‘the unsuitability’ of the revolutionary struggle. By spreading illusions about the possibility of a reformist path of achieving independence and about “the decolonisation at the hands of the imperialists”, the national bourgeoisie of India retained its influence on the masses of Indian workers.

Already in 1925 Comrade Stalin had pointed out that the Indian national bourgeoisie had split into a revolutionary Party and a compromising party and that the compromising section of this bourgeoisie had already managed in the main to come to an agreement with imperialism. Comrade Stalin emphasised in this connection that the compromising section of the Indian bourgeoisie had entered into a bloc with imperialism against the workers and peasants of its own country.
“The victory of the revolution cannot be achieved unless this bloc is smashed. But in order to break this bloc fire must be concentrated on the compromising national bourgeoisie: its treachery must be exposed, the toiling masses must be emancipated from its influence and the conditions necessary for the hegemony of the proletariat must be systematically prepared. In other words, it is a question of preparing the proletariat of such colonies as India for the role of leader in the liberation movement and of dislodging, step by step, the bourgeoisie and its spokesmen from this honourable position. The task is to create a revolutionary anti-imperialist bloc and to ensure the hegemony of the proletariat within this bloc.” (Stalin, Marxism and the National and Colonial Question, p. 217)

Comrade Stalin teaches that the independence of the Communist Party “must be the basic slogan of the advanced elements of Communism, for the way for the hegemony of the proletariat can be prepared and the latter can be achieved only by the Communist Party” (Stalin, Ibid., p. 218). Till that time no Communist Party had been organised in India. The Workers’ and Peasants’ Party, formed in November 1925, was the first organisation unifying the scattered Communist groups inside the country, but in its composition it included even representatives of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia, among whom there were also Left social-reformists. Social-reformists penetrated into the working class as agents of the national bourgeoisie and by indulging in democratic and Socialist phraseology they attempted to subordinate the working class to the influence of the national bourgeoisie. The influence of social-reformism made itself felt in the activities of the Communist organisations of India in the formation of trade unions and in the policy of their leadership. A factional struggle went on in the different groups who had joined the Workers’ and Peasants’ Party. In 1928 the expulsion of the renegade Roy, who was instigating factional struggle within the Party, improved the situation. But the survivals or social-reformism made themselves felt even further. Immediately after their foundation in 1918-20 the leadership of the trade union organisations in India was in the hands of bourgeois elements which included the social-reformists who pursued a compromising policy. In 1929 a split took place within the Indian trade union movement and by 1931 three leading trade union centres were formed inside the country – the All India Federation of Trade Unions, led by Right reformists, the All India Trade Union Congress under the leadership of the “Lefts” and the Red Trade Union Congress which united the revolutionary organisations of the Indian proletariat. The split within the working class movement in India had a negative influence on the further development of the anti-imperialist struggle of the Indian toilers, which bore an insufficiently organised character.

At the end of 1933 there took place the organisational unification into a single Communist Party of the Communist groups that were scattered till then. From this time the Indian working class under the leadership of the Communist Party began to emerge in the political arena of the country as an independent force and for the first time waged a struggle against the bourgeoisie and for hegemony in the national liberation movement.

In 1935 a united Trade Union Congress of India was formed by merging the Red Trade Union Congress and the All-India Trade Union Congress, and the force and the sweep of the trade union movement inside the country increased sharply. The growth in the influence of the Communist Party among the masses alarmed the British imperialists and their rotégés, from amidst the Indian bourgeoisie. In 1934 the Communist Party of India was declared illegal.

The revolutionary struggle in India grew again in strength on the eve of the Second World War. The strike movement embraced the vast masses of workers and the capitalists were often forced to give concessions. The workers of the jute industry in Bengal, the textile workers of Kanpur, the railway workers, etc., all went on strike. The working class that was steeled in struggle became the most organised and powerful detachment of the anti-imperialist forces of India. The Communist conception of the formation of a united anti-imperialist front found a broad response and the approval of the overwhelming majority of the toilers. In 1936 new peasant unions (kisan sabhas) emerged, which were in the main led by the Communists.

In 1942 after eight years of illegal existence, the Communist Party was legalised. The emergence of the Party from underground and the strengthening of its ties with the masses led to the growth and the organisational consolidation of the Party. The membership rose from four thousand members in 1942 to sixteen thousand in 1943. In June 1943 the First Congress of the Communist Party of India was held and it noted that the influence of the Party had increased considerably not only among the workers but also among the peasants and the intelligentsia.

The old leadership of the Communist Party was nevertheless not free from the reformist influence which left its mark on the policy of the Party in the period of the Second World War. “The Mountbatten Plan” for the partitioning of India and the granting of Dominion status to India and Pakistan which was nothing but a deal between British imperialism and the Indian bourgeois top strata, a new form of the economic and political dependence of these Dominions on British imperialism, was evaluated by the former leadership of the Communist Party of India as some kind of ‘step forward’ and not as a new form of attack of British imperialism on the Indian people. After the partition of India into two Dominions the leadership of the Communist Party took the decision to support the bourgeois Nehru Government and decided on the “expediency” of forming a united national front from Gandhi to the Communists. This reformist line was strongly criticised and condemned at the Second Congress of the Communist Party of India which took place in February-March 1948.

It was thus that in the two biggest countries of the East the struggle of the working class for the leading role in the national liberation struggle developed in the period between the First World War and the termination of the Second World War.

Guided by the teachings of Lenin and Stalin on the national colonial revolution the working class led by the Communist Parties has become in China and in India the leading force in the struggle for national independence and the freedom of the many millions of peoples of these countries.

* * *
The might and the international authority of the Soviet Union grew immeasurably after the Second World War. The great victory of the Soviet people in the patriotic war demonstrated with new force to the whole world the superiority of Socialism over capitalism. As a result of the war and the victory of the Soviet Army, the breach in the world system of imperialism was widened, a number of countries of Central and South-East Europe – the countries of People’s Democracy – dropped out of this system and today stand on the path of building the foundations of Socialism. The revolutionary anti-imperialist front of the oppressed masses acquired an even more powerful support than before.

The support and assistance of the Soviet Union which exposes before the whole world the aggressive policy and the criminal designs of the Anglo-American bloc is of inestimable importance for the successful development of the national liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries. The Soviet army by vanquishing the Japanese occupiers of Manchuria and North Korea averted imperialist intervention in these regions and prevented the counter-revolutionary forces from seizing power there. Thus the Soviet people not only liberated the peoples of China and Korea from the yoke of Japanese usurpers but also created in China and North Korea conditions favourable for the organisation and consolidation of the People’s Democratic regime.

“Had there been no Soviet Union, had there been no victory in the anti-fascist Second World War, had Japanese imperialism not been defeated (which is particularly important for us), had there been no growing struggle of the oppressed countries of the East. had there been no struggle of the masses in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and other capitalist countries against the ruling reactionary cliques – had none of these factors existed then the pressure of the international reactionary forces would of course, have been much stronger than it is today. Would we have been able to achieve victory in these circumstances? Of course not. So it would have been impossible to consolidate victory after it had been achieved.” (Mao Tse-tung, Ibid.)


After the Second World War the sharp intensification of the uneven development of the imperialist States, the inevitable emergence of new sharp contradictions, differences and conflicts between them is of tremendous importance for the national liberation movement in the colonies and semi-colonies. American imperialism, which has fattened on the war and on the blood of the people is attempting to redivide the world after the Second World War in conformity with the changed correlation of imperialist forces. In its struggle for the establishment of .world domination American monopoly capital is constantly coming into conflict with the interests of the imperialist robbers who have been weakened after the war. The main contradiction in the imperialist camp – the Anglo-American contradiction – has been sharply aggravated.

During the war Britain’s ties with her colonies were weakened. She found herself militarily and economically dependent on the supply of American foodstuffs and manufactured goods. In spite of the fact that the British imperialists recovered their colonies after the war they met with the increasing influence of the USA there. American capital is more and more extending its penetration into the countries of the British empire; at present it occupies almost the same place as Britain in their trade. The USA is not releasing Britain from the clutches of financial and economic dependence and is gradually taking away its control over the colonies. It is dislodging Britain from the former spheres of influence and subordinating it to the position of its vassal. The positions or France, Belgium, and Holland are being more and more undermined in their colonial empires. The Marshallisation of the main European imperialist metropolitan countries is converting them more and more into satellites of the USA. In spite of this the British, the French, the Dutch and the Belgian imperialists are opposed to the growing penetration of American capital in their colonies and are attempting to consolidate their own positions there. All this gives rise to extraordinary instability and extreme weakening of the general front of imperialism in the colonies. Nevertheless, the imperialists of different countries under the aegis of the American imperialists join together when it is a question of crushing the national liberation movement of the oppressed peoples.

The Second World War gave an impetus to the development of national industry in the colonies the semi-colonies and dependent countries. During the war the extension of industrial production in the colonial world was conditioned on the one hand by the step page in the imports from the metropolitan countries of essential foodstuffs and goods for wide consumption and on the other hand by an increase in the requirements of the metropolis of the military strategic raw materials and various other materials necessary for the conduct of war operations. In the colonies this facilitated the development of the mining and raw material industry, the building of war factories and plants owned by the imperialists on an indigenous raw material base and also to an increase in the number of small industrial enterprises of a manufacturing type, the growth of domestic industry and trade. However, in spite of a certain industrial development in a number of colonies and dependent countries they have maintained their former colonial status.
“It is imperialism’s special method to develop industry in the colonies in such a way that it is chained to the imperialist metropolis.” (J. V. Stalin, Collected Works, Vol. VIII, page 128.)
The development of industry in the colonies and semi-colonies assumed distorted forms and a one-sided character. Moreover, it led to the growth of a national proletariat. The Indian proletariat increased almost by one million. In the colonies there took place simultaneously an intensified differentiation amongst the peasantry and the number of the agricultural proletariat increased.

In the war period the imperialists drained the wealth from colonies and semi-colonies in great quantities; the colonial population was doomed to hunger and slow death.

The intensification of the plunder and exploitation of the colonies by the imperialist metropolitan powers extremely aggravated the contradiction in the colonies and semi-colonies themselves. The imperialists attempted to extend their social base in the colonial countries and increasingly drew over to their side the national big bourgeoisie which served them as a weapon for pumping out the wealth of the colonial countries and for the still greater enslavement of the colonial peoples. With the assistance of the imperialists the ruling groups of the local bourgeoisie became centres of the anti-democratic struggle in the colonies and semi-colonies. In certain countries, as for example India and China, these groups of the national bourgeoisie have become converted through imperialist support into big monopolist compradore amalgamations.

The “Four Families” in China – Chiang Kai-shek, Chen Li-fu, Sun and Kun-Syan-Si – were a clear example of such monopolist associations. All political and economic power in Kuomintang China belonged to them. With the help of the American imperialists they concentrated in their hands tremendous capital and the natural riches of the country.

They employed not only capitalist but pre-capitalist methods or exploitation and emerged as the most typical representatives of big finance capital which merged both with the State apparatus and foreign capital.

In exactly the same manner as the Chinese, the Indian monopolist amalgamations made tremendous profits during the war period and this substantially increased their economic strength. The Directors of the Birla, Tata, Dalmia and other companies had no objection to the passing of anti-British resolutions by the Congress. But they in essence were and continue to remain agents and allies of British capital in India. The rule of foreign imperialists in India is advantageous to the Indian big bourgeoisie. It is interested in the assistance of British imperialism for a struggle against the people’s movement. It betrayed the national liberation movement for the sake of its class interests. The Indian big bourgeoisie has assisted the British imperialists to establish in India after the war a regime which under the outer form of ‘independence’ has preserved intact the colonial exploitation of the population by British monopoly capital.

A close merging of the national big bourgeoisie with foreign imperialism was also taking place in other colonial and dependent countries. The groups of compromising bourgeoisie are the enemies and stranglers of the national liberation movement of the oppressed peoples and along with the imperialists they are organising civil war against the progressive democratic forces of their own countries.

After the Second World War the proletariat of many colonies and semi-colonies became the acknowledged leader of the national liberation movement. The emancipation of the labouring peasantry and the urban petty-bourgeoisie from the influence of the big bourgeoisie has been and is proceeding at a very rapid pace in the colonies and dependent countries. At present the Communist Parties in many semi-colonial and colonial countries – Viet Nam, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, etc., – have unified broad sections of the people under their leadership in the democratic anti- imperialist front.

In the first ranks of the revolutionary national liberation movement in the East are the millions of Chinese people – a victorious people. Immediately after the termination of the Second World War the reactionary feudal-bourgeois clique of Chiang Kai-shek supported by the American imperialists subjected China to a sanguinary civil war. The Kuomintang Government rejected the popular demands for a democratisation of China, that were put forth by the Chinese Communist Party and other democratic organisations, representing the interests of the proletariat, the toiling peasantry and the patriotic groups of the petty and middle national bourgeoisie. It launched an attack on the working class, on its leader the Communist Party and on the defenders of its interests, the People’s Liberation Army of China.

In 1946 the Kuomintang troops that were equipped by the Americans exceeded twice the number of the People’s Liberation Army. But even before two years had passed, the main forces of Chiang Kai-shek were smashed and by June 1949 the Kuomintang troops lost more than four-and-a-half million men and almost 60 per cent of the population of China was freed from the rule of the feudal-bourgeois-reactionary Kuomintang Government. By October 1949, the overwhelming majority of the Chinese population was liberated and on October 1, the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed and a Central People’s Government was elected with Mao Tse-tung, the leader of the Communist Party, at its head. The prolonged struggle of the Chinese peoples under the leadership of the working class culminated in a great historical victory. Four hundred and seventy-five million people of the world’s population, liberated from imperialist oppression, stood on the path of development towards Socialism.

A decisive factor in these victories of the Chinese people is the leading role of the Communist Party of China which is steeled in battles, which is following the great teachings of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin, which had succeeded in rallying the Chinese people around the working class, around the revolutionary People’s liberation Army and which has exposed the anti-popular, anti-national, treacherous policy of the Kuomintang clique.

The Communist Party of China and the People’s Liberation Army of China earned the respect, recognition and love of all the people. A single united front unprecedented in breadth and depth and unifying the workers, the peasants, the urban petty-bourgeoisie, the national minorities and certain sections of the middle industrial and trading bourgeoisie was created inside the country. The petty and the middle bourgeoisie in China suffered oppression and persecution at the hands of the reactionary big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the Kuomintang power (which was in the hands of monopoly capital). The petty and middle bourgeoisie is not or very little connected with imperialism. That is why this bourgeoisie, according to the definition of Mao Tse-tung “a real national bourgeoisie”, enters into a united front of struggle against internal reaction and foreign imperialism. The basis of this united national front is the alliance of the working class and the labouring peasantry under the leading role of the working class.
“Imperialism and the Kuomintang reactionary clique were overthrown primarily by the force of the working class and the peasantry. The transition from the New Democracy to Socialism depends, on the main, on the alliance of these two c1asses. The working class must lead the dictatorship of the People’s Democracy, for only the working class is the most far-sighted, just and unselfish and consistently revolutionary class. The history of all revolutions shows that without the leadership of the working class the revolution is doomed to failure. But under the leadership of the working class the revolution will be victorious. No other class in any country in the epoch of imperialism can lead a real revolution to victory. This has been clearly proved by the fact that the Chinese petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie led the revolution on many occasions – but always they met with failure.” (Mao Tse-tung, “The Dictatorship of People’s Democracy.” For A Lasting Peace, For A People’s Democracy, July 15, 1949)

The victory of the Chinese Revolution has once again confirmed the brilliance of the teachings of Lenin and Stalin on the national and colonial revolution and on the necessity of the hegemony of the proletariat in this revolution.

The advance of the national liberation movement in India in the postwar period is also proceeding on the basis of the proletariat attaining a more and more leading role in the national liberation movement.

After the Second World War the influence of the national bourgeoisie among the masses in India decreased decisively and the strength and influence of the working class increased considerably. The membership of the Communist Party of India rose to ninety thousand; the Communists strengthened their position and authority among the workers, the peasants and the urban petty bourgeoisie. The All-India Trade Union Congress comprising nearly 800,000 members, the All India Kisan Sabha with also a membership of nearly 800,000 members, the All-India Students’ Federation and many other progressive unions and organisations in the country are under the influence of the Communists.

In the course of 1948 more than 1,600 strikes took place in India and a considerable number of these strikes bore a political character. The strikes and mass actions of the workers were directed against the attacks of the bourgeoisie on the living standard and political rights of the working class, anti-working crass legislations, against the lifting of price-control, and against the assumption of extraordinary powers by the Government against the persecution of the Communist Party of India, etc.

Thanks to the leading role of the working class and its leaders – the Communist Parties – successes have also been achieved in the national liberation movement in Viet Nam whose people are waging a heroic struggle against French imperialism which is egged on and supported by the ruling circles in USA. A partisan army is also operating in Burma, a partisan war is being waged against the American colonisers in the Philippines and an armed struggle for independence of the peoples is on in Indonesia and Malaya. All these are not accidental, spontaneous outbursts but an organised and conscious struggle of the popular masses led by the working class and the Communist Parties against the imperialists and internal reaction.

The national liberation movement in Indonesia is taking place under complicated conditions. Under the leadership of the Communist Party the Indonesian partisans are waging a dogged armed struggle against the Dutch troops not only in Java and Sumatra but also in the other islands of Indonesia.

* * *

The consolidation of the leading role of the proletariat in the national liberation movement of the peoples of the colonies and the semi-colonies during the war and after its termination was the factor which determined the gigantic sweep of this movement and its decisive victories.

In all the countries of the colonial world the peasantry, the intelligentsia, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and that section of the national bourgeoisie which is coming forth against imperialism are rallying around the proletariat for emancipation from colonial oppression, for national freedom and independence. Moreover, the Communist Parties are waging a determined and irreconcilable struggle against the national reformist agents of the imperialists who are trying to drive a wedge between the various detachments of the national liberation movement in the different countries and also between the national liberation movement of the colonies and semi-colonies on the one hand, and the international camp of democracy and Socialism as a whole on the other. The servitors of American imperialism – the Bevins and Blums – are trying to poison the consciousness of the fighting peoples of the colonies by dissemination of the treacherous slogan of the “third path”, for the sake of rescuing the colonial empires from final destruction. Mao Tse-tung writes, “Not only in China, but throughout the world without exception, it is either support for imperialism or Socialism. Neutrality is a camouflage and no third path exists.” The Communist Parties of the colonial and semi-colonial countries are exposing these attempts and are carrying on an irreconcilable struggle against them.

In the course of a prolonged struggle the Chinese people came to the conclusion that the most important condition of success is 
“unity in the common struggle with the countries of the world which regard us as an equal nation and with the peoples of all countries. This means alliance with the USSR and the People’s Democracies in Europe and alliance with the proletariat and the masses of the peoples of the other countries to form an international united front.” (Mao Tse-tung, Ibid.)
True to the traditions of internationalism, the Communist Party of China and Communist Parties of other colonial and semi-colonial and dependent countries branded with shame the Tito fascist clique, that gang of provocateurs and paid spies of foreign imperialist secret services, which has established a regime or terror, espionage and diversion inside the country. 

The Soviet people see in the tremendous victories of Chinese democracy the triumph of the all-conquering power of Marxism-Leninism. They welcome the formation of the People’s Republic of China as a historical culmination of the great and prolonged struggle of the Chinese people under the leadership of the working class. The Soviet Government was the first to grant recognition to the new Government of Democratic China.

The further rallying of the peoples of the colonies and semi-colonies around the working class led by the Communist Parties under the banner of Lenin and Stalin is the guarantee of success of the struggle for the liquidation of the imperialist system of colonial slavery and oppression.


From Problems of Economics, No.9, 1949